tv NBC Nightly News NBC February 25, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
we begin tonight with nbc's anne thompson at the vatican. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. with just three days left in his papacy, the vatican wanted the spotlight to be on pope benedict. instead the world is seeing the darker side of the church, the in-fighting and scandals that today claimed britain's highest-ranking catholic. for scotland's cardinal o'brien, the end came with astonishing swiftness. today o'brien resigned and said he will not attend the conclave to elect a new pope. the first cardinal in history to stay away, because of a personal scandal. sunday, a british newspaper published accusations by three priests and a former priest that o'brien engaged in inappropriate behavior with them, going back to the 1980s. >> holy father accepted the resignation -- >> reporter: 24 hours later, pope benedict accepted o'brien's resignation as archbishop of saint andrews and edinborough. >> quite upsetting. >> the catholic church is in quite a bit of turmoil.
>> reporter: o'brien denied the claims and said in a statement today, for any failures, i apologize to all whom i've offended. >> the one who handed me over to you -- >> reporter: just last week, o'brien spoke out about the american cardinal, mahoney under pressure to sit out the conclave because he shielded sexually abusive priests. >> we all acknowledge that sometimes if someone has erred in some way or another, it doesn't stop their judgment in other matters. >> reporter: it's all revealing that sometimes nasty politics behind the pageantry. >> the fact that we haven't been through a mourning period and a papal funeral has let the dogs loose over the last week in a way that would not normally have taken place in the normal course of the papal transition. >> reporter: after adoring crowds yesterday, today the pope dealt with another sordid mess. last year's leak of papal documents by the pope's own
butler. the pope decided that an internal report on that scandal would remain secret, known only to him and the next pope. italian newspapers have run wild with speculation about a cover-up. wondering if that report led to the pope's resignation. the vatican denies that. >> it certainly weighed on him, but i don't -- i think we're putting more into it if we make that the decision. >> reporter: also today, the pope gave the cardinals permission to move up the start date of the conclave, but those discussions are not expected to happen until pope benedict officially steps down thursday night. brian? >> anne thompson at the vatican on this monday night. anne, thanks. now we go to washington where we're one day closer to some broad and sweeping federal budget cuts, known by the clunky name of "the sequester." it's due to happen friday and again tonight there doesn't seem to be any urgent or serious effort to stop it. in fact, with all of this going on, all of this looming, the u.s. senate made a point of
reading george washington's farewell address to the chamber today. something they do every year. but, of course, this is no ordinary time, and to the white house we go. nbc's peter alexander standing by there. peter, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening to you. there is bipartisan agreement on one thing, that those sequester cuts will likely go ahead as planned at the end of this week. the white house and congressional republicans have made no progress toward a deal. while there was plenty of talking today, almost all of it was critical of the other side. the latest in the parade of public officials issuing dire warnings, homeland security secretary janet napolitano asked if the cuts would increase the likelihood of a terrorist attack. napolitano went there. >> we're going to do everything we can to minimize that risk but the sequester makes it awfully, awfully tough. >> reporter: back from a ten-day recess, house speaker john boehner. >> if the president was serious, he would sit down with harry reid and begin to address our problems.
>> reporter: trying to capitalize on the visit by to washington, the white house released detailed, state by state reports. in california, 9,600 low-income students could lose financial aid. in texas, nearly $68 million for teachers and schools could be slashed. and in virginia, 90,000 civilian defense department employees could be furloughed. the president punctuated the urgency. >> all of us are concerned about our politics. both in our own parties as well as the other parties. but at some point, we've got to do some governing. >> reporter: still, there have been no negotiations. no progress all weekend. not even a phone call between the president and republicans in days. so why the lack of movement, especially if the cuts are so drastic? >> what you're seeing right now is solely that political positioning, trying to put themselves in a place where they are the ones dictating the terms of the eventual agreement to their political rivals. >> reporter: but the anticipation is already breeding anxiety. >> the sequester is part of the
broad uncertainty that the federal government has foisted upon the economy. >> reporter: even this firm in pennsylvania that the government find ways to cut costs is now at risk of going out of business itself. >> because a lot of the agencies really don't know what they have to spend. they have been less inclined, in most cases, to spend anything. >> reporter: also tomorrow, the senate is expected to consider chuck hagel's nomination for defense secretary once again. brian, this time the republican filibuster is expected to fail. hagel could be confirmed as early as this wednesday. >> peter alexander at the white house tonight. peter, thanks. almost thankfully we at least get to talk about the weather, even though it is a massive blizzard churning its way across this country tonight. watches and warnings are up in several states, many already hard-hit. now facing what is shaping up to be another record-breaker in some parts. weather channel meteorologist mike seidel joins us from wichita, kansas tonight. hey, mike.
good evening. >> hey, good evening, brian. all or parts of 20 states tonight into wednesday are under some type of winter weather warning or advisory. it stretches from texas to maine. meanwhile, this morning the plains got hit hard by howling wind and blinding snow. the storm hit hard in the predawn hours in the texas panhandle. >> oh, my god, dude. >> reporter: 2 to 3-inch per hour snowfall rates and hurricane-force wind gusts were clocked in amarillo. the national weather service called it a crippling, historic blizzard. >> we're going to step outside and let you see what it's like so far. >> more than a foot of snow and 77-mile-an-hour wind gusts combined to create whiteout conditions, shutting down every road in the texas/oklahoma panhandle. texas rarely sees this much snow from one storm. it's amarillo's second snowiest day on record with 17 inches.
the national guard and local emergency crews struggled through snowdrifts that topped 6 feet in places to reach dozens of stranded motorists. the storm also pummeled western oklahoma. >> as you folks already know out there, conditions are terrible for travel. >> as it blew into kansas, people in its path tried to prepare. >> as you can see, going to the grocery store and just hoping that we have enough food, and where i don't have to get back out in it. >> this storm is a tough one-two punch for the region. wichita had its second largest storm on record and kansas city their biggest snowfall in 20 years, just four years ago. and heavy snow tonight and wednesday. and here's that forecast. we're looking at another 6 inches here in wichita overnight tonight. kansas city where the snow moved in this afternoon, maybe another foot on the south side of town. and then tomorrow, the storm treks northeast. the snow streaks toward chicago, arriving tomorrow afternoon. they could see half a foot or
more by wednesday morning. that would make it their biggest snowfall this season. flights cancelled at o'hare. but back here in wheat country, brian, very few complaints. they're in the midst of a horrible drought. they'll take anything that falls out of the sky, even inches or feet of snow. >> mike, we know it's bad when you've got your snow glasses on. mike seidel in wind-whipped wichita, kansas for us. mike, thanks. we go overseas now. john kerry has embarked on his first overseas tour as the new secretary of state. a whirlwind trip. he'll hit nine countries in ten days in europe, the middle east and already he's been confronted with his first big test in office. our chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell, is traveling with the secretary. she's with us from our london bureau tonight. andrea, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. secretary kerry's maiden voyage almost went off course because of a problem no one has been able to solve. syria. from breakfast, at number 10 with the prime minister.
>> quite a long tour. >> well, it's the beginning. thank you. thank you for being the first leg of it. >> a traditional breakfast. to set you on your way. >> reporter: to dinner in berlin. the new secretary of state's first day on the road was dominated by a war thousands of miles away. sunday, syrian rebels shot down a government helicopter. but the assad regime still outguns the rebels. raining scuds on to civilians in aleppo on friday. with russia arming assad, rebel leaders threatened to boycott a team meeting with kerry later this week to protest the u.s. and europe's refusal to arm them. >> at this stage, isn't it time to revisit that policy? >> with a new secretary of state at a beginning moment of the second term of president obama, when he himself has expressed concerns about it, this moment is ripe for us to be considering what more we can do.
>> reporter: as a senator, kerry said military aid should be considered. and hillary clinton and leon panetta both recommended arming and training some rebel units. but president obama rejected that proposal last year. fearing weapons would get into the hands of al qaeda supporters. but today, facing rebel pressure, kerry hinted at a policy shift. >> we are determined that the syrian opposition is not going to be dangling in the wind, wondering where the support is or if it's coming. >> reporter: before leaving london, kerry called a key opposition leader and talked him into showing up for the meeting in rome later this week. today proof that nothing is going to be easy, though, for america's newest top diplomat. brian? >> andrea mitchell in london traveling with the secretary tonight. thanks. dr. c. everett koop has died. the fact that you recognize either his name or face is proof that what will be said about him most is true. he was the first truly public
surgeon general of the modern era, certainly the television era. he truly practiced public health. as surgeon general, between 1981 and '87, he became an aggressive advocate for aids education and prevention. and he believed in using blunt language in educating the public about how it spread. he was also aggressive in his anti-smoking effort, saying nicotine was more addictive than heroin. he was brooklyn born, ivy league educated and taught medicine in the ivy league. he believed in the power of prayer at the bedside for the sick. charles everett koop was 96 years old. still ahead as our broadcast continues on a monday night, what doctors are now saying about treating one of the most common childhood illnesses. and a reversal for the millions of women who have been told to take calcium and vitamin d to protect their bones will leave themselves at risk. and later tonight, hits and misses and plenty of controversy after hollywood's big night.
in health news tonight, new guidelines for parents struggling with the most common of early childhood ailments, as a lot of us know and that's ear infections. according to today's advice, less is more when it comes to using drugs to treat an earache, though try telling that to an anxious parent at 3:00 a.m. our chief medical editor, dr. nancy snyderman, reports. >> like most parents, harry bronstein has a lot of sleepless nights when his son gets sick. >> abraham had pretty much nonstop ear aches for the first six months of his life. we felt pretty much helpless after a while. >> it isn't so surprising. >> other than the common cold, ear infections are the number one reason parents see a pediatrician. >> reporter: acute middle ear infections are bacterial infections caused by a build up of fluid behind the ear drum and the main reason children are prescribed antibiotics. but the new guidelines for the
diagnosis and treatment of this cause of ear aches in kids ages 6 months to 12 years old may help parents and pediatricians avoid unneeded medications. >> the goal is to improve the diagnosis and to make sure that we preserve the healing power of antibiotics by using them judiciously in kids who benefit most and conversely giving kids who don't need them the opportunity to improve on their own. >> reporter: for bronstein, knowing when to take abraham to the doctor has been confusing. >> we were there constantly, sometimes two or three times a week. >> reporter: according to the new guidelines, children with ear aches might be good candidates for antibiotics if they have a history of frequent ear infections. if there's a fever higher than 102.2, lasting longer than two days. and a bulging ear drum indicating possible infection. without these symptoms, an earache is mostly caused by a virus, allergies, even teething.
in these cases, it is safe to put off seeing the doctor, to skip the antibiotics. >> i want to show daddy about ear infections, okay? >> reporter: and to just give a child pain relievers for discomfort. i know it's hard to believe at 3:00 in the morning, but that pain reliever will get to the ear sooner than an antibiotic. which will still take 48 hours. and brian, a reminder to immunize your children, stay away from cigarette smoking and breastfeeding is a good way to keep down ear infections too. >> and nancy, as we mentioned, calcium was in the news in your area today. >> right. the united states task force came out today for over 50% of women over the age of 60 take calcium and vitamin d to prevent hip fractures. authorities today are saying don't take it, it's just not worth it, no proof it really helps. better off to take just through real food and dairy. eat your food. forget the pills. >> dr. nancy snyderman, thank you, as always. we'll take a break.
an eventful weekend in daytona. first the harrowing wreck, the lower bracket race saturday. drivers walked away from this one. not all the spectators did. over 20 injuries, 2 enough to require hospitalization. for a lot of dedicated race fans, part of the appeal is being close to the action. in this case, it was too close that day. workers did emergency repairs to the fence through the night and right up until the start of sunday's daytona 500. while it was won by jimmy johnson, it was danica patrick who made history, first woman on the pole position, first to lead a green flag lap and the first top-ten finisher, finishing at eight. large study tonight in the "new england journal" shows that the mediterranean diet, meaning fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fat from olive oil and nuts can really help
prevent heart disease and strokes. over this five-year study people on the diet were 30% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those on a general low-fat diet. researchers say the key here, replacing bad quality calories with good. it was an internal memo that went public and triggered a lot of public talk across this country today. the yahoo! ceo, marissa mayer has banned all employees from working at home. starting in june, employees who now must remotely work must show up at the office every day instead. this announcement upset a lot of folks, especially some working moms. about 10% of american workers now do their jobs from home, at least one day a week. and companies have promoted a more flexible workplace in recent years. another break. when we come back, about last night. some of the jaw-dropping high notes and a few sour ones at the oscars.
the interviewer says you look amazing. the celebrity then says, "thanks, i just wanted to be comfortable." and they say that even if they're wearing a doily. as for the rest of the show, they got an edgier as oscars. our review of all it tonight from nbc's kristen dahlgren in hollywood. >> reporter: it was a show filled with massive productions. ♪ >> reporter: the cast of "les mis" unlike in the movie, singing together for the first time. mega stars, like barbra streisand. ♪ >> reporter: and new oscar winner adele. but if music was the theme of this year's academy awards, seth mcfarland hit the wrong note for some. >> he was often offensive. he was less often funny. >> reporter: mcfarland, best known as the creator of "family guy," mixed song and dance with his signature blend of biting humor. >> and the quest to make tommy lee jones laugh begins now.
>> reporter: in the end, the show may have been saved by a stumble. best actress winner jennifer lawrence got a standing ovation after she fell on her way to the stage. >> you guys are just standing up because you feel bad that i fell and that's really embarrassing, but thank you. >> reporter: ben affleck talked about his own pitfalls on the way to a best picture win for "argo." he was snubbed by the academy for best director. >> and it doesn't matter how you get knocked down in life, because that's going to happen. all that matters is that you've got to get up. >> reporter: the first lady presented that award in a surprise appearance via satellite. >> welcome to the white house, everyone. >> reporter: there was the usual glitz and glamour. but the show was criticized for leaving stars of the past like andrea griffith and phyllis diller out of its in memoriam segment. and after a flop for mcfarland, daniel day-lewis may have gotten the biggest laugh. >> i may have been committed to play margaret thatcher. >> reporter: proving something
that mcfarland himself joked about in his monologue. hosting the oscars -- >> seth mcfarland, worst oscar host -- it's that bad? >> uh-huh, uh-huh. >> reporter: may be the toughest job in hollywood. kristen dahlgren, nbc news, los angeles. >> and that's our broadcast on a monday night, as we start off a new week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. and, of course, we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. good evening. thanks for being with us on this monday. i'm raj mathai. >> and i'm jessica aguirre. the deadline is friday and the $85 billion in cuts announced by the white house sounded scary as the name for that budget carving, sequestration, talking worker furloughs, delayed flights and millions in funding loss for schools, and that's just the tip of the iceberg, all
happened march 1st. damian trujillo is looking at the california numbers. he joins us live from the east side high school with reaction. dami damian? >> reporter: jessica, here are the numbers and they dive into the head start program, mental health and other programs but there was a lot of uncertainty as to what specifically is going to get cut so it seems a lot of people will be scrambling this week to get some answers. >> the sequestration -- >> reporter: sister richards used the battle in washington as a teachable moment in his government economic class at mt. pleasant high school. >> sequestration is not something that youth can really connect to but anytime you have an event going on in the real world that you can connect to the classroom that's a valuable thing. >> reporter: the california numbers released by the white house are any indication many students at mt. pleasant and
across the school district could be impacted. the white house says no deal by friday means the state will lose $87.6 million for primary and secondary education. it means the elimination of title 1 funds and it means head start programs would be eliminated. >> it makes it more difficult. >> reporter: the school district says there's a lot of uncertainty about the specifics of the cuts. school districts are not getting definitive details about what's being cut and by when. >> we're wait to go see what the details are to see what direct impact it has on our district budget but also knowing services to our families, whether it's through head start or mental health indirectly or directly. >> reporter: santa clara county says there will